Have you ever had one of those moments where someone used a particular word excessively in conversation? You think to yourself, searching for an explanation why such an uncommon word has suddenly received such regularity. You wonder if Billy Bombastic had just received one of those “New Word Everyday” calendars and you simply bumped into them on “extraneous” day, which is not only bizarre due to the excessive use of the word, but also because his use of it was indeed “extraneous” in virtually every utterance. A slightly different scenario might be with a loved one where they choose to use the repetition of a word in conversations with you to somehow ensure you remember it or catch a hint. It’s as if the conversation has become a giant syringe subliminally injecting the key word into the recesses of that bucket-with-a-hole you call your memory. It is fair to say that we all adopt pet words into our vocabulary that somehow launch themselves from our tongues too often. Even within church circles, we have burdened our vocabulary with words that may have truth to them, but our use of them is baffling to those outside of our church context— “fellowship,” “ministry,” “conviction,” “saved,” and the like. Whatever the case, sometimes this makes the hearer want to respond with a mildly irritated “For the love of GOD . . .” Look carefully in this section and you will find John repeating a word to his hearers. Without irritation and with fatherly care, it is as if he is saying “For the love of God, look for the love of God.” Without looking at any other criteria, this section of the text includes twenty-seven uses of the word “love” in its different tenses (all based upon the same Greek word), and twenty-one uses of the word “God.” You don’t have to be an astrophysicist to understand the thrust of what John wants his hearers to capture. God is love, He loved us first, and any love we have to offer is borrowed from His.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
South Valley Community Church was established in Gilroy in 1984, by founding pastors Eric and Carol Smith. It began with a few faithful families, but by God's grace grew to the church it is today. Eric and Carol pastored faithfully for 31 years, and now serve SVCC as pastors emeritus.